I have been a writer since I learned how to write. But first I was a reader, that is the natural progression. Not a speaker, I was a listener, the child who sat in the back row of every classroom, who never raised her hand, who trembled when called on to answer a question, mumbled a minimum response, blushed, and sank back into silence. I was in awe of the extroverts who could discourse eloquently on almost any topic. But I snuck through all the way from kindergarten through graduate school because I could write. I wrote because I didn’t have the courage to speak. I wrote because the words I wanted to match my thoughts were never easily accessible to me. I needed time to process. Words are so important, after all. To choose the wrong one in any situation can be catastrophic.
Essay after essay, paper after paper through my Masters Degree I wrote onward and upward as if every word pulled me higher up on the ladder leading to…what????A better job, a more satisfying life? Yes, that is true. I went from being a wimpy dominated housewife to being “my own person.” At age 74 that seems overdue. But I believe I have earned the right to be outspoken, to laugh and joke about the absurd, and reflect on the good and the beauty around me.
So I have several volumes of journals that no one will ever read. I have heard it is best to destroy journals before you pass on, so your family won’t be hurt by your words, or won’t misinterpret some innocuous comment. Right now I can’t think of doing that…like cremating myself before I am dead. I confess that my journals are one-sided and portions of it are negative about my ex husband for instance…likely that is unfair…there are two sides to every story. But these books are honest accounts, at least at the time I wrote them. They are my thoughts and feelings at a given moment, paused for reflection, and for guiding me along to the next installment of my life’s story.
Maybe I shall leave the journals to my dog, that is if I go first. I can’t imagine life without her, though. She has been the reason I get out of bed each morning, and out the door. She has been my gateway to the outside world since my husband passed away. She has been my”wing dog” for finding friends, and she has not lead me astray on this. She is selective. There are certain dogs she won’t tolerate, and curiously, I have found their owners offish and unfriendly too. We have a good time together sniffing out companions, and in a neighborhood where nearly everyone has a dog, Pippa and I have made social connections.
Now if dogs could write, what a tale she could tell!